Pop-up library to showcase circular solutions


Feb 21, 2020

Pop-up library to showcase circular solutions

Caption: L-R Councillor Elizabeth Krassoi, Deputy Mayor Jim Sanderson, Mayor Mark Bennett and General Manager Lisa Miscamble, all of Hunter’s Hill Council, with NSW Circular Economy Innovation Network Pilot Projects Manager Keith Monaghan


  • Government: Hunter’s Hill Council
  • Research organisation: UNSW SMaRT Centre
  • Facilitator: NSW Circular


Hunter’s Hill Council had been exploring opportunities to promote the circular economy and demonstrate its long-held commitment to support sustainability and reduce waste going to landfill.

As part of plans to finalise a new ‘pop-up library and community space’ in a Hunters Hill Village site in mid-2020, along with support from Lane Cove Council, discussions were undertaken with NSW Circular to consider actions to support circular economy solutions for the site.

The solution

Hunter’s Hill Council, via NSW Circular, agreed to engage researchers at UNSW’s Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) Centre to demonstrate how waste materials can be given a new life, transformed into high quality products suitable for urban buildings. As a result, the new pop-up space will feature a range of furniture, building materials and decorations made from waste plastic, glass, corflute and textiles sourced from local supply chains.

These products and materials will be showcased to demonstrate to visitors how waste materials can be reformed and repurposed into useful and valuable materials and products. This innovative approach to waste materials followed a series of community workshops to explore how to best showcase this circular economy initiative at the site and how council could incorporate other circular economy solutions into future projects and initiatives.

Design and installation planning commenced in 2019 to incorporate the materials and products made from waste into the fit-out and ongoing operation of the pop-up library and community space. The space would act as an education and community precinct which could feature initiatives such as a tool library, an e-waste filaments line (where waste plastic is made into filament for 3D printing), and a demonstration area.

Longer term, as Hunter’s Hill Council continues with a stand-alone local library project, the pop-up library would also be used to incubate community ideas on what the permanent library might look like.

Caption: Hunter’s Hill Council, NSW Circular and SMaRT Centre representatives at one of the Pilot Project workshops at UNSW

Why is this Circular?

​This Pilot Project aims to divert the waste materials from their current destination of landfill, to be reformed and used as new materials and products for use in other applications. Introducing value added products made from waste in this way, the project is able to demonstrate that waste as a resource can be valued, upcycled, reformed and reintroduced into a new supply chain, viable for commercial purposes.

Benefits & Outcomes

The outcome of the pilot project is to develop a proof of concept that shows how waste can be recycled, upcycled and reformed for other uses, and that councils and businesses can facilitate the uptake of technical recovery solutions in their communities. The in situ use of these materials will form part of a community awareness and demonstration initiative, showing that high quality, unique furnishings and materials made from waste can have uses within the built environment for applications such as floors, cabinets and tiling.

By demonstrating that these outputs have practical use and therefore commercial and industry interest, we can show that waste to product transformations are scalable, replicable and potentially commercially viable. The collaboration will lead to consider where and how plastic and other waste materials can be recovered for production and contribute to economic, social and ecological benefits to NSW communities.




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